Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Islanders/Capitals Preview

New York Islanders at Washington Capitals
Wednesday, February 20th, 2008, 7:00 PM
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Last Meeting: 12/22/2007, Caps lose in overtime 3-2

About the Opponent

New York Islanders: 28-25-7, 63 points, 5th in the Atlantic Division, 10th in the Eastern Conference

Team Leaders
Goals: Bill Guerin (19)
Assists: Mike Comrie (27)
Points: Mike Comrie (45)
Plus/Minus: Sean Bergenheim (+6)
Penalty Minutes: Andy Sutton (86); active: Mike Comrie (64)
Fights: Tim Jackman (8), Andy Sutton (4), Chris Simon (3); active: tie - Mike Comrie, Bill Guerin (2)

Random Islanders Fact
The Islanders leading scorer, Mike Comrie, has a team worst -20 plus/minus rating.

Random Islanders Statistic
With 63 points, the Islanders are last in the Atlantic Division. Were they in the Southeast they would be one two point[s] out of first with two three games in hand.

Keys to the Game

Secondary scoring. Repetitive perhaps, but I feel like everything else is clicking well enough for the Capitals that if they can get some offense from players who aren't on the first line, they'll win this game.

Slow down the pace of the game. The Islanders are tied (with two other teams) for 27th in the NHL in goals, their best goal scorer is 37 years old and their best defenseman will be out of the lineup, so the last thing the Islanders want is a run-and-gun type game. Instead the Islanders will try to limit the Capitals chances and rely on counter-attack to create offense.

Players to Watch

Alexander Ovechkin -
Ovechkin had the flu on the team's recent swing through Florida and was held without a point against the Panthers and Lightning. The Great Eight isn't going to be happy about his lack of production in such crucial game, so tonight's game has 'big time performance' written all over it.

Rick DiPietro - DiPietro has gotten a lot of press for various off-ice reasons: being the first goaltender picked number one overall, being the reason the Islanders traded Roberto Luongo, his 15 year contract. These issues, plus DiPietro's somewhat underwhelming NHL debut, have taken the focus off how good a goaltender he has become.

Around the (Inter)net
A new, promising looking Capitals blog: DC One-Timer...The trade season has finally kicked off!...Trade rumor sources: TSN,, ESPN, Faux Rumors...Eight of the NHL's worst trades...The NHL's most dangerous players on the PK...Alex Ovechkin's love story...speaking of Ovechkin, ESPN has a story about his relationship with his mother...Scott Burnside says he wants Mats Sundin punished if Sundin doesn't waive his no-trade clause; I think Burnside wants controversy and hence readers...George McPhee is chatting with Phoenix GM Don Maloney?

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